Two centuries ago, Stroud was at the forefront of the Anti-Slavery movement. At the time this was radical and controversial; slavery is no longer tolerated, at least in civilised societies. Slightly earlier, the Methodist John Wesley preached in the Shambles, when Non Conformists were denied the vote. Now a person’s religion plays no part in their civic entitlements.
Where Stroud leads the rest of society follows, initially reluctantly, but eventually our radical ideas become the norm.
So I wasn’t surprised that Extinction Rebellion started in Stroud, and I am pleased that the movement is spreading rapidly across the country. I was also proud that Stroud was one of the first Town Councils in England to adopt a policy of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. We are once again at the forefront of a grass roots movement that will soon become mainstream. Of course there are some who would still deny the scientifically proven existence of Climate Change and the need to make urgent changes to the way we live our lives. These deniers will soon be regarded with same disdain as slave owners and religious bigots are now.
At Christmas it is perhaps appropriate to heed the words of a former Archbishop of Canterbury who said, “The Earth should never be seen as a human dominion; ….clearly our human duty is to appreciate it, cherish it, celebrate it, take care of it, and share it not just among ourselves but among all creatures present and future. Far from subduing it, we should replenish it and pass it on to future generations, intact and enhanced”.
Long may Stroud continue to lead the way in raising moral and ethical standards by setting an example for society and the world.
I wish you all Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.